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Wednesday, 21 July 1926

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - If I supported the request submitted by Senator McLachlan, I should commit myself to a pension scheme for justices of the High Court. In opposing his request I shall be consistent, since during my secondreading speech I stated that the provision inserted in another place was an attempt to evade the Constitution. I remind Senator Lynch that honorable senators on this side of the chamber are not at all suspicious of the High Court Bench, but we believe that the salaries paid to the justices of that court should be sufficiently high to enable them to retire at 70 without pensions. I understand that Senator McLachlan's proposal is to delete the proviso in sub-clause 2, which reads -

Provided that in the case of a justice who at the commencement of this act is more than 70 years of age, the annual pension to which he is entitled on retirement shall be at a rate less than the rate specified in the last preceding sub-section by one-tenth for each year or part of a year, after one year from the commencement of this act, that elapses before his retirement.

That proviso suggests a differentiation, as the justices of the High Court are not all of the same age.

Senator Pearce - Senator McLachlan has indicated that he wishes that provision to be deleted.

Senator NEEDHAM - The way in which the proviso is drafted suggests a differentiation between the justices. In my second-reading speech I pointed out that an attempt was being made to violate the spirit of the Constitution.

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